July 20, 2024

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Also on Lufthansa: Tel Aviv flights diverted to Beirut by hackers.

Also on Lufthansa: Tel Aviv flights diverted to Beirut by hackers.

Flights from Lufthansa and other airlines to Tel Aviv are repeatedly diverted to Lebanon – at least that's what it seems on FlyRadar.

Lufthansa flight LH686 from Frankfurt on January 27 and 28 and February 10. LH680 from Munich on January 8th. Lot flight LO153 from Warsaw on February 13. El Al flight LY382 from Milan on January 7 and 8. All these planes have two things in common.

First, their destination is Tel Aviv. On the other hand, well-known flight tracking service Flightradar 24 shows that all these flights were diverted to Beirut in Lebanon.

Details that make you suspicious

It is not unusual for flights to be diverted due to bad weather or a technical fault. Given its geographic location, Beirut would also be a suitable alternative airport to Tel Aviv. But tensions between Israel and Lebanon, including a mutual rocket attack with Hezbollah, make it unlikely that many flights will divert to Beirut.

If you take a closer look at the flight paths on FlyRadar, you'll notice other things that make you suspicious. On the one hand, there is no intermediate information, such as altitude, between the point where the aircraft apparently changes course and the virtual arrival at Beirut. Also, the plane is shown above the airport, not on the runway, and then on a taxiway. Additionally, no flights from Beirut to Tel Aviv are shown – although return flights from Tel Aviv are scheduled.

Posts are fake

Lebanese daily newspaper Orient-The Day There was already an explanation in January. He reported that aircraft display boards at Beirut airport were hacked and criticized Hezbollah. In this context, an informant from Lebanon Middle East Airlines told the newspaper that there had already been other hacker actions – for example, virtual diversions to Beirut on Flytrader.

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asked aeroTELEGRAPH. “Aircraft in the region are prone to very strong GNSS interference, jamming and spoofing,” a FlyRadar24 spokesperson said. This can cause the aircraft to report incorrect positions. GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite System, Positioning and Navigation Satellite Systems. When spoofing, data from these systems is specifically manipulated.

Flightradar is looking for a solution

“There are many fake positions regarding Beirut airport,” says the spokesperson. “Our automated systems interpret these false positions as landing events in Beirut and then automatically create a 'detour' on our service.” We are looking for ways to prevent this.

This isn't the first time FlyRadar has been manipulated. For example, in March 2022, after the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, it was possible to see the circular flight path of Antonov An-225 – which was literally destroyed on the ground. The call sign read FCKPUTIN as a message to the President of Russia. Finally, a Frenchman admitted to this manipulation. He took advantage of the fact that the Air Navigation Service was not only using its own receiver stations on the ground, but other people as well.